The benefits of hospice begin with the intended goal of such programs: to provide comfortable care in a compassionate manner at the end of life. Benefits are generally centered around the highly-specialized care patients receive during hospice care, including those focused on both the patient’s physical and mental well-being. Other benefits of hospice include a reduction in out-of-pocket expenses and family support.
Philosophically, hospice programs seek to allow patients the chance to die in a peaceful and compassionate manner. When patients are identified as terminally ill, hospice can step in and administer the care needed to reduce pain and provide the best quality of life possible until the end. This care can be provided at home or in a managed care setting, depending on the patient’s desires. For some, the option to die at home is one of the most important benefits of hospice.
End of life care is often referred to as palliative care. One of the main benefits of hospice care, is that it focuses on relieving pain and easing the discomfort associated with any symptoms related to terminal disease and illness. This type of care usually involves a team approach to ongoing treatment, which involves physicians, nurses, and home health aides to name a few.
Hospice treatment also helps support the mental well-being of patients. Treatment will commonly include medications and activities to help ease the stress associated with coming to the end of life. Volunteers and hospice professionals often spend time reading to patients or engaging them in their favorite activities, such as playing cards or completing crossword puzzles.
The costs associated with this care are another one of the benefits of hospice programs. Typically, once a patient makes the choice to enter this type of palliative care program, public health care programs cover the cost associated with any treatment or medication. This can relieve the patient of the financial burden of out-of-pocket expenses for drug co-pays and durable medical equipment.
Hospice does much more than provide support to the patient. Caregivers provide several services aimed at supporting the family as well, as they grieve and prepare for the loss of a loved one. This usually includes services related to spiritual needs and respite care. Respite care involves hospice professionals taking over some of the responsibilities a family member may have previously assumed, such as bathing and dressing. This service can provide loved ones with time for rest and reflection during this stressful period.